Selected Course Descriptions for Fall 2013
Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
This course is an introduction to a very large field, cultural anthropolgy. We will begin investigating anthropolgy as a discipline. We are each individuals with specific subjectivities navigating diverse settings and interacting with diverse people. What this implies is that our observations and beliefs are largely infomred by our unique backgrounds and we often generalize from our own and othrs' actions. A goal of this course is to begin to undo, and to scutinize critically, these generalizations and our cultural "common sense". Every act, ritual, coversation has a cultural logic that can help us begin to understnd why we are what we do and they do what they do.
Introduction to Human Evolution
This class is designed with the lecture section and a lab section. You will handle casts of fossils, skeletal material, and watch and discuss films about primate behavior and conservation. By the end of the clas you should have a working knowledge of genetics, evolutionaly theory, primate behavior and conservation and human evolution.
The Human Species
In this course we examine human biology and behavior from an evolutionary perspective, comparing our anatomy, physiology, and behavior to those of living primates and other mammals. We will descuss the relative roles of genes ("nature") and environment ("nurture"), the biological basis of behavior. local biological adaptations evident in modern populations, growth and development, and diet and disease. Students will actively engage in the development of scientific hypotheses, data colleciton, and data synthesis analysis, as part of laboratory research experiences throughout the semester. Material covered will help prepare students to understand and evaluate recent advances in genetis, behavioral studies, medicine and evolution.
Introduction to Archaeology
This course provides in aintroduction to the archaeologixal record of human change over the last 2.5 million years. We will conider such topics as human origins, our history as hunters and gatherers, the origins of food production and the development of early complex sociities. Course requriements include mid-term and final examinations, and eight brief revies of articles from the professional literature.
Introduction to Linguistics
The objective of this course is to provide an introduction to the study of language from an anthropological perspective, starting from its most minute components, such as the phonemes, and finishing with the larger social context: for instance, how language is used to construct and preserve social inequality. Our exploration of linguistic structures and the social context of language use will introduce students to key topics in linguistic anthropology. Special emphasis will be placed on critical thinking about the role of language and communication in contemporary anthropological and social scientific debates, and on relating language and communication to other aspects of human experience. We will draw primarily from research in the subfield of linguistic anthropology, but also from anthropology at large, linguistics, sociology, psychology, and communication studies.
Latin American Society and Culture
This course will be an introduction to the people and culture of Latin America, including middle and south America andthe Caribbean. We will explore the diverse pre-Columbian socieites of the region, including their intellectual acheivments, politcal organization and material contributions to world culture. Aspects of early European contact and conquest will also be explored as well as the cultures and legacies of colonail societies. We will also investigate pattersn of historical and economic development. Particular attention will be paid to issues of race, ethnicity, gender and class in Latin America
Anthropolgy of Black America
This course will examine the ways anthropologists have studied and theorized African American/Black life, culture, and politics in the U.S. We will explore historical as well as ongoing research on race in ethnographic texts as well as through contributions by African American/feminist scholars and cultural producers - in the form of music, film, and visual art - that have shifted the shape and scope of anthropoligcal research on black America. The goal is to provide a historical and critical background for understanding how knowledge about Black America has been produced, contested, and redifined within the field of anthropolgy we well as within the larger historical conxt of race relations in the U.S.
Human Evolutionary Genetics
This course has one goal:to understand human genetics from an evolutionary and anthropological perspective. The class will address issues such as human diversity, migration, natural selection, disease, and human origins. To achieve this goal we will be utilizing a challenging and highly detailed textbook. Because of the high level of this class, a strong background in elementary genetics and biology is required. The undergrad prerequisites for this course are ANTHP101, ANTHP102 or perm instr.. The MA prerequisite is ANTH790 or permission by instructor.
Social Movements: Theory, Practice and Ethnography
This course focuses on people taking action to change their society through social movments and other forms of contentions political action. Carrying out demands without relying on political representatives or laws into their organizing. We will study direct action as a tactic, and a way of envisioning social change, as well as its relationship to feminist, anti authoritarian, and autonomy-centered political theories. Among the arenas of action to be considered are abortion rights, global justice, environmental defense and Occupy movements, as well as direct action approaches to confronting oppression and abuse within oppositional movments.
ANTHC 310/ANTH 720
Politics and Power : Anthropological Perspective
This course is intended to expose studnets to approaches that anthropolgists use to think about power and politics. This course draws on a rnage of theories of power and examines several of "social movemets." Although the course is not an overview of the history of anthropolgical approaces to such topics, it will draw in contemporary and historical sources, giving studnets access to a number of difference approaches and ehtnographci studies.
ANTHP 310/ANTH 794
Primate Ecology and Behavior
Through lectures, discussion and student presentations this course will examine the ecology and behavior of the living primates, with a focus on how ecological factors shape primate behavior. Topics include: community ecology, feeding and nutrition, kinship, mating strategies, and social organization. Becaue most primate species are threatened, endangered, or even facing extinction, we will also focus on how various aspects of ecolgy are use in the conservation of primates.
ANTHC 311.51/ANTHC 721.50
Anthropology of Music and the Arts
This course offers an overview of anthropological approaches to the study of the arts in a variety of ethnographic contexts. This semester will focus primarily on music and what is often called Sound Studies. We will begin with the question What is Art? and explore how the concept of “art” has been understood by art historians, philosophers, and anthropologists. How can Anthropology’s ethnographic focus promote a deeper understanding of the power of aesthetic practices to shape our world? Turning our attention to the production of sound in specific social and cultural contexts, we will explore how sound in its various manifestations – from music and ambient sound to natural sounds and urban noise – creates and challenges social and political identities in diverse cultural contexts, including the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Students will engage in a variety of listening exercises and create a sonic diary as part of the larger critical engagement with how our lives are shaped by sound.
ANTHP 312 combined with ANTHP 791.64
Prim. Evolution: Genetics and Behavior
The objective of this course is to review current work in primate evolutionay genetics, including aspects of phylogeny, social behavior, natural selection, disease, population history, demography, conservation, and genomics. Each topic will be considered in the broader context of human evolution. This course will draw on studies from the primary literature, thereby providing students with the tools and practices required for reading peer-reviwed articles from scientific journals. The focus will be on crystalizing the research papers into their essential hypothese and understanding how these hypotheiss were examined.
Research Design in Anthropology
This class will introduce students to basic principles of research design in anthropology. Coursework will include constructing a research proposal, exploring data sets, and discussing ethical considerations in anthropological research.
ANTHC 315.5/ANTH 718.5
Anthropolgy of Education
This course explores the relationship between anthropolgy and education. Anthropolgical perspectives on what is taught and learned, by whom, where, and when and how. The course will review teaching and learning, from childhood through adulthood, in cross-cultural perspecitves, with an emphasis on the what childen (and adults) are taught, and how they learn. Current and classical research on the structure, function, and purpose of schooling and on non-formal education will be considered from the standpoint of the premises and values of contemporry American culture, viewed through the lens of anthropolgy
ANTHP 316/ANTH 791.65
Human Evol. Adaptation
How does the human body work, and how did it get that way? This course investigates the workings and evolution of all aspects of human biology. Course material on human physiolgoy is paried with material on the evolution of that system in humans. ANTHP 101, ANTHP 105 or similar background in human evolution and aanatomy is ecpected.
Hisotry of Anthropological Theory
What should anthropologists study? What can they claim to know, and what kinds of questions should guide them in their research? Anthropology is an exciting, dynamic field of inquiry because anthropologists are continually reassessing the answers to these questions. In doing so, they use, adapt, and transform theory. In this course, we will look at how the theoretical debates on these questions have evolved from the middle of the 19th Century to the end of the 20th. By the end of the course, students will be better prepared to take their own, informed positions on some of the core questions of anthropological theory.
ANTHC 321.65 combined with ANTH 702.94
Anthropology of Media
This course examines the social and political life of media and visual communication, paying special attention to how it makes a difference in the daily lives of people as a practice, in production, reception, or circulation. It provides an overview of the increasing theoretical attention paid to the mass media and visual communication by anthropologists, and focuses on concrete ethnographic examples. This course examines cross-culturally how the mass media have become the primary means for the circulation of symbolic forms across time and space and crucial to the constitution of subjectivities, collectiveties, and histories of the contemprary world. Topics include the role of media and visual communication in constituting and contesting national identities, in forging alternate political visions, in maintaining stereotype and demoncratizing representation, and in creaating subcultures. The types of media and visual forms we will examine range from commercially driven movie making to small scale video production, from TV to cellphones to Facebook and YouTube, and from anthropolgical representations to news reporting to advertising. We will read about and watch the complicity of researchrs with their subjects over representaions of culture, the shift from national to transnational circuits of production and consumption, and the instability and stratification in reception of media and visual communication practices in diverse parts of the world.
Women in Pre Historic Society
Since the 1980's, post-modern gender theory and feminist theory have been brought into archaeology to problematize assumptions about women's lives and gender-related phenomena in the past. Although this course will center on women, our goal is to fully comprehend how archaeological investigations of gender and related phenomena enrich understandings of human prehistory. To do this, we will learn, deconstruct and evaluate various archaeological approaches, including quantitative methods, qualitative methods, and critical theory. We will address the following key questions: Can archaeologists actually identify gendered phenomena and women in the archaeological record and if so, how? Which archaeological methods may be useful for this task?Are some methods problematic? How did women's lives interact with rank, class, power relations, race, divisions of labor, and violence? How have archaeologists' interpretations of and assumptions about gender roles interacted with contemporary popular culture and formal ideologies of gender?
ANTHC 320.49/ANTH 751.49
Archeology: Mexico and Central America
This course provides an overview of the pre-Hispanic archeology of Mesoamerica, a region extending from central Mexico to El Salvador. We will study the lifeways of the ancient native peoples of that region, from their first settlements more than 12,000 years ago, up until the Spanish conquest in the 1520s. Special emphasis wil be placed on the Olmec and other Formative chiefdoms; the Classic civilizations of Teotihuacan, the Maya, and the Zapotec; and the Postclassic Toltec and Aztec states.
ANTHC 320.56/ANTH 702.54
This course examines how anthropolgists have denied and researched the "urban" by looking at ethnographies and theoretical developments in urban anthropology. What are cities, and how, why, and what drives people to live in them? This course is reading and writing intensive, with the emphasis on developing critical reading, writing and thinking skills. As such the seminar challenges students to question assumptions and test arguments to arrive at a deeper understanding of humanity. Through discussions and assignments, students will be encouraged to make connections between social scientific theories and current social, politcal, and economic issues in order to get a sense of how anthropolgy as a discipline functions.
Anthropology of Food
This course is intended to provide a multidisciplinary, comparative, and necessarily eclectic look at the anthropology of food, with a primary focus on issues of food and power. The objective of this course is to give students a thorough grounding in the following areas, several of which will be considered throughout the semester from different angles. Differeing approaches to the anthropology of food and to undersanding dietary patterns. Historical and contemporary "food regimes". Commodity chain analysis and the history of particular commodities, such as sugar, and chicken. Analyses of hunger, malnutrition and famine, as well as cultures of thinness and fatness. Debates between proponents of "food security" and "food soverignty" Food as a human rights and gender issue. Debates between proponents and agroecology and industrial agriculture. Food related social movments.
Language, Sex and Gender
Rather than isolating gender from other aspects of social identity, we're coming to understand that the one of the best ways to understand gender as a construct is to understand how it is normatively and actually linked to the construction of a variety of other identities (ethnic, age-related, regional, class, occupational, sexual) and to the display of other social stances and emotions (affect, politeness, affiliation with traditional/modern norms, formality, and more). This course explores the connections between language (use) and gender/sex systems, examining a variety of theoretical perspectives, methodologies, and findings in recent research and writing. Some of the questions that we will explore in this class are:How do linguistic practice and ideologies reflect, perpetuate, and create our experience of gender? How does gender interact with race, class, socioeconomic status, age, occupational and social/familial roles, institutional settings, and other factors? What do controversies about sexism and other biases in language suggest about the connections between language, thought, and socially situated political struggles? How are social meanings produced and reproduced, negotiated and legitimated? ANTHC 321.52
Magic, Witchcraftand Relegion
Anthropolgy of Violence
The learning objective of this course is to introduce students to some issues in the anthropolgy of violence by examining contemporary approaches to studying violence in socio cultural anthropolgy and related fields. Students will discuss different ways of, but also complexities of and contadrictions in, defining violence, its causes and consequences. Specifically, through a wide range of ethnographic, literary, historical, and theoretical texts, students will engage in these debates by discussing relaionships between political, economic, historical, and social processes and violence - of not only of these processes' role in its production, but also how these processes affect the ways in which the category of violence itself comes to be defined, to be represented. More specifically, this course intoduces students to both discursive and material approaches in the anthropolgy of violence. While intimately bound to contests over material resources and intra-psychic dissonance, students learn how the specific shapes of violence, its causes and contingencies, are structured by, but rarely simplistically reducible to class struggle, individual psychology, or a single historical process. Locally meaningful categories (forms of gender, race, or ethnicity) often determine who are terrorized, when, where and how. Students also learn that like its motivations, the impacts and effects of violence are multiple, and even complex and contradictory. Studies of particular socio-cultural contexts of violence by anthropolgists complement (and sometimes disrupt) the poltical scientists' foci on the actions of big men and the "war room" the economits' attention to the demands of industry and capital, and the psychologists' investigtions of indivudal pathology.
ANTHC 327.50/ANTH 756.51
Historical ecology is a practical framework of concepts and methods for studying the past and future of the ralationship between people and their environment (Crumley 2013). It builds upon the rish methodological and theoretical foundations of Environmental Archeology, Human Ecology, Environmental History, and Political Ecology to contribute the millenial scale perspective of long term human ecodynamics to current attempts to design genuinely sustainable futures for humans on a rapidly changing planet. Course objectives: this course will provide an overview of methods of paleoenvironmental reconstrucion, zooarcheology, geoarcheology,archeobotany and human bioarcheology and their applications to a series of case study examples. Students will gain an understanding of moden interdisciplinary team science, environmental modeling, and an overview of current theory in sustainability archaeology. Requirements include a reserch paper, web resource search, and group presentation.
Seminar: Linguistic Field Techniques
Language and Society: Interaction
Introduction to Museum Curation
This course introduces students to ideas of "Critical museology". Students will question what a musuem is and does, what it can be, and what it might become. Through case studies and site visits, we will delve into how the fields of museology and anthropology grew up together and continue to influence each other's theory and practice today We will consider the historical role of the museum in supporting local, national and global identities, its social roles and responsibilites, and it relationship to memory, commemoration and activism. We will ask quesatons like "who is the musuem for?" 'How does the musuem engage with its community?" and "How is that changing?" Ultimatley, we will explore the role mesums and their practices play in our own lives, and how that might influence the future of these instituitons.
Human Skeletal Biology
Invesitgate the human skeleton, how it works, and how it evolved. Focus will be on identifying the bones in the human skeleton, basic bone and muscle biology, the function of these bones and the muscles which attache to them, and the evolution of the modern human skeletal form. A good course for those interested in medicine, archeology, and/or paleoanthropology.
Of the numbr of growing sub-fields within the discipline of Anthropology, perhaps none embrace the growing interconnection of people and cultures more than the research conducted by medical anthrpologists. From on-the-ground analysis of the perils of serving as a human subject, the interrogations of the ethical dimensions of global medicine, the evryday struggles of women to access reproductive health treatment, this course will offer a cross-cultural perspective on the ways that medicine, culture and politics intersect one another in an increasingly globalized world. In this class students will be challenged to rethink their basic conceptions of morality, ethics and what medicine is through close reading of recent enthographic research in the field.
Globalization and Culture
In the hub of global connetions that is New York City, we see globalization every day. But visible or not, globalizaing processes connect people everywhere. In this course we will conasider ways of uncovering and interpreting global connections, in order to better understand how identities and possibilties are being remade by the movement of peole, culture and things
International Migration/ LACS 434.77
More than 1 billion people are migrants: This is approximately 1/7 of the world population. Studying migration offers a privileged lens to understand historical and contemporary world processes in relation to power and domination, economic transitions, cultural transformations, forms of racialization, class relations, gender dynamics, and world inequalities.The objective of this course is to look at processes of forced, induced and voluntary migration from anthropological and historical perspectives, combining theoretical discussions with case studies of migration from and to different parts of the globe. These cases and discussions will be in continuous dialogue with the question of how we, as migrants and residents of the quintessential migrant New York City, can understand our own experiences and social contexts.
Sem:Archeological Field Methods
This course will introudce you to archeological methods through a combination of readings and hands-on expereince. Each week we will focus one aspects of what archeologists actually do both in the field and in the laboratory.
The 3 objectives are to provide an overview of key theoretical and topical issues in contemporary cultural anthropolgy; to promote critical, informed readings of anthropolgical debates, past and present; to promote critical analysis in writing of contemporary cultural phenomena. Focus will be on case studies both classical and contemporary with the aim of defining how anthropologists have constructed thier theoretical and methodological toolkit, and assessing how anthropological tools might be used in the analysis of global problems today.
ANTH 702.3/ANTHC 320.76
Law and Anthropology
The course examines anthropological approaches to the question of law, justice, and testimonial practices. Using postwar compenstion lawsuits filed by Chinese wartime forced laborers enslaved by imperial Japan as the primary case study, the purpose of the course is to examine theoretical, methodological, and ethical issues arising from approaching legal caes anthrpologically so that students can pursue their own research topics in thier field paper projects. We will examine the role of law in redressing the past injustices and violence arising from the Second World War. Speical attention will be paid to the convergence of two processes, the breaking of long-led silnce by victims through forms of testimony inside and outside the cortroom, and the legal process of redress. Since 1990s, many Chinies and Korean war victims, such as former forced laborers and the so-called "Comfort Women" have filed lawsuits against the Japanses government and corporations. In the process, they give voice to thier long silenced, traumatic experiences, which reuslted in fueling the globaal human rights movement against human trafficking. Through anthroplogical approaches to law and testimonial practices, we will examine such questions as: what kind of legal space is created through compentation lawsuits, what kind of "performance" is produced both inside and outside courtrooms, what kind of power dynamics underlie the recounting of testimony, and what does it mean to account for silence in pursuit of the politics of redress. Even though the course draws examples primarly from East Asia, students are encouraged to pusue their own choice of caes elsewhae in thier final paper projects.
ANTH 719 combined with ANTHC 401.48
Politics of Anthropology: Humanitarian and Development Aid
What does anthropological research tell us about the rapidly changing and politically charged fields of humanitarain aid and development assistance? After tracing its intellectual history, we investigate how this growing area of research is itself having to rethink its approach as globalization (among other forces) disrupts and transforms traditional configurations of international assistance. In the second part of the semester, we apply this rethinking to specific contexts in which aid and cdevelopment efforts are deployed, and to the relevant actors involved such as states, international instituions, NGOs and local populations. Understanidng official rhetoric and how actors and ontexts interact, are the new ways in which anthropolgy is approaching globalaid.
This course presents an overview of our current understanding (or lack thereof) of major cultural developments over the last 2.5 million years from cultural origins in Africa to the independent emergence of complex socieites in Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica. Emphasis is placed on the reflexive relationship of anthropological theory and the great spatial and temporal variation uniquely available in the archeological record.
Linguistic Anthropology is one of the four subfields of anthropology. The objective of this course is to introduce graduate students to the sociocultural study of language. We will devote special attention to how language is essential to social life, to how we experience the world, and to how we see ourselves. In addition to key concepts of grammatical description and language acquisition, other concepts of this course are identity, race, social inequality, power, gender, and multilingualism.
Analytic Methods in Archaeology
This course will provide a basic introdction to statistical description and analysis with an emphasis on archaeological applications. Specific techniques will be considered in the context of such topics as sampling, basic description, and exploratory data analysis. Appropriate computers ans software are avaiable for stfent use in the Quantitative Methods Laboratory (HN 705) of the Department of Anthropology.
ANTH 751.65 combined with ANTHC 321.65
Politics of Reproduction
This course provides an in-depth look at reproduciton as it intersects witht the wider socio-economic and political contexts in which it occurs. We will explore the increasiing medicalization of birth and the reproductive body, the role of technology in reproduction, and how reproductive choices affect sociocultural formations. Situating reproduction in relation to some of the key concepts that have concerned anthropologists such as culture, social structure, religion, kinship, race, gender, consumption, community, and identity, this course provides an opportunity to lean about "intimate" life processes in a variety of social and cultural contexts boith within and outside the U.S.
ANTH 794 combined with ANTHP 310
This course provides an overview of the ecology, behavuior, and social systems of nonhuman primates and examines variations in these aspects of primate biology from the perspectives afforded by evolutionary ecology and socioecological theory. The course provides an introduction to the grouping patterns, mating systems, foraging ecology, and individual behavioral strategies that characterize texa from the major groups of primates, then covers the fundamental theoretical perspectives that modern primatologists employ to study and understand the variation in primate social systems, including the theory of evolution by natural selection, the concepts of reproductive success, inclusive fitness, and kin selection, and the basic principles of primate population biology and sociology. We then use the core principles to examine the various survival, mating, and parenting strategies seen in primates and to explore how ecological factors differnetially affect the dispersal decisions and the nature of social relationsahips - both competitive and cooperative - of male and female primates. We will also consider the roles that primates play in their natural ecosystems and to the coservation of nonhuman primates